Chris & Pitts suspect was person of interest in East Los Angeles homicide

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The chase suspect who was shot dead after holding hostages at a Downey restaurant was a person of interest in a homicide in East Los Angeles.

The chase suspect who was shot dead after holding hostages at a Downey restaurant was a person of interest in a homicide in East Los Angeles.

Rocio Vasquez, 46, was found dead inside her East L.A home on Aug. 24. Authorities made the discovery when they put out a small house fire on the 700 block of Brady Avenue.

Eyewitness News has learned Eddie Tapia, 41, was a person of interest in the ongoing homicide investigation. He is the man who was fatally shot by SWAT team members Thursday night in Downey.

Sheriff's deputies said Tapia stole a car, then carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint and led police on a chase. A PIT maneuver ended the pursuit, but Tapia did not surrender.

Authorities said he fired a gun as he ran into Chris & Pitts restaurant and held customers hostage. He later agreed to let all but four people leave.

"We asked Eddie to surrender. We told him 'walk all four of you guys out.' I called my husband and said 'Pedro, they're gonna shoot him. They're gonna kill him. Just have him go outside.' But he just wouldn't budge. He wouldn't budge," said Eva Ramos, a hostage.

The SWAT team stormed the restaurant. Tapia was shot dead after deputies said he reached for his gun. He had a lengthy criminal history with convictions for burglary, grand theft, possession of a controlled substance and attempting to evade a police officer with reckless driving.

Investigators have not said why Tapia was considered a person of interest in the murder of Vasquez.

The coroner has not released how Vasquez was killed. The sheriff's department put a security hold on the autopsy results.

Related Topics:
hostagedeputy-involved shootingpolice chasehigh-speed chaseswathomicidehomicide investigationDowneyEast Los AngelesLos Angeles County
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